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Giuditta Bottazzi AG DVD Paper

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Italian professor studying pk phenomenon
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  1THE 1907 PK EXPERIMENTS BY PROF. FILIPPO BOTTAZZI Antonio Giuditta Department of Biological Sciences, University “Federico II”, Naples, Italygiuditta@unina.it  Abstract If we define ‘Thomas prejudice’ the habit of only trusting your own sensory channels, prof.Filippo Bottazzi (FB) was surely conditioned by such prejudice when rumors of the wondrous PKcapacities of Eusapia Palladino (EP) reached his ear at the turn of last century. FB was the directorof the Institute of Physiology of the Royal University of Naples, and an internationally well knownphysiologist. Aiming to find out by himself, and not lacking courage and determination, heconvinced several distinguished University professors to join him in a series of PK sessions to beheld with EP at his Institute. The outstanding data obtained in eight such sessions was masterfullydescribed by FB in a book published in Italian one century ago [1].The main interest of these observations stems from the recording of most PK events (anuncommon occurrence at the time) which required EP to learn the special movements needed toactivate the related instruments. Most notably, she was also able to simultaneously press twoelectric keys, one with her natural arm, the other one thanks to her PK capacities. These and relatedobservations convinced Bottazzi that PK events were to be attributed to EP capacity to extendanomalous limb(s) which were endowed with sensory and motor features comparable to those of her natural arms, and were governed by the same brain/mind that controlled her natural limbs. Introduction As an old friend of prof. Massimo Libonati (Bottazzi grandson), I had the chance to read thesrcinal edition of FB “Fenomeni medianici” [1], a book that was recently reprinted [2], and to beimpressed by the content and fluency of the text and its many illustrations describing experimentalset ups and recorded data.While the relevance of “Thomas prejudice” in furthering or disproving current scientificknowledge cannot be denied, it has long been my belief that attention should also be paid to unusualexperiences of other people, provided one is using an open mind and the benefit of doubt. Of course, not all of us are worth reliance, and some may actually be outright liars. Under suchcircumstances, a rule of thumb learned from an American colleague suggests “most humans maytell lies, but nobody is bound to pay them attention”.Men who took part in FB experimental sessions are worth considerable attention. They wereoutstanding professors of the Royal University of Naples, still honored to-day by their naming adepartment (Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana “Filippo Bottazzi”), the largest hospital of southernItaly (Ospedale “Antonio Cardarelli” in Naples), and a street (via Sergio Pansini in Naples). Hence,their belief in the reality of PK phenomena cannot be marginalized or neglected. Nonetheless it isinstructive that when I presented a summary of FB “anomalous experiments” to the Academy of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Naples, an influential member of the Academy could notavoid uttering “If a student of mine had reported comparable observations, I would have kicked himin the ass”! As faithful ambassador of forgotten data, I merely pointed out that his remark wasmerely challenging the honor of last century University professors who were just as reliable, andperhaps even more reliable than present day colleagues. He later offered apologies, and I believe weare still friends.As nicely mentioned in the introduction to his book, FB was initially skeptic or indifferent toreports of EP outstanding performances. His conversion started when he read on nationalnewspapers of EP feats at the Institute of Physiology in Turin. As he decided to look at these eventswith his own eyes, he alerted several university professors, contacted EP through a common friend,  2and convinced her to participate in sessions held at his Institute thanks to a recommendation madeby Prof. Richet, his French colleague who was EP good and honored friend. Outline of the experimental set up The sessions were scheduled in the spring 1907, the first seven at intervals of 3-4 days (fromApril 17 to May 11), while last session took place on July 5. Sessions usually took place at a timethe Institute was empty, between 9 pm and 11-12 pm. Only a trustworthy machinist or a FBassistant were occasionally present, but far away from the experimental room which was in aremote section of the Institute serving as FB lab. Of the three doors and one window in the room,the door opposite the entrance door and the window on the right opening into an inside garden werelocked. The door on the left wall of the entrance door was also locked, and became the far partitionof the medianic cabinet (MC) whose ceiling and sides were delimited by a thick wall. Severalcables went through this door, connecting MC instruments to recording cylinders blackened bysmoke which were in the adjacent room. One or more pens apposed to cylinders relied signalsleaving vertical traces on slowly rotating cylinders. Two black curtains hanged on a high polerepresented the front MC partition. It is worth noting that EP was never informed of what objectswere in MC, and remained uninterested in knowing.A table (the medianic table or MT) and several chairs were placed in the experimental roomin front of the curtains. A couch and a small table rested on the left of the entrance door, and someshelves were on the left wall. Decreasing intensities of light were provided by four lamps whichcould be switched on and off independently. During the sessions light was often dimmed but neverturned off.Several university professors (usually 6 to 8) participated in the sessions. Two or more of them firmly held and felt with their own hands EP hands, arms and legs throughout the first sevensessions. In the eighth session, EP wrists were strictly secured to two inextensible strips fixed to thefloor. FB wife attended some sessions, and a married couple interested in spiritism (Mr and MsH.B.) attended the last session.FB observations will be described under separate headings of recorded and non recordedevents, the latter one being further subdivided into additional categories. This arrangement willhopefully allow a more exhaustive account, but will remain far from rendering the flavor of FBwriting, his mixing facts with logical considerations, and his quiet humor.FB reports of the eight sessions were prepared after each session or the following morning,often after a sleepless night when PK events had been extraordinary. Differences of opinion withother participants occurred seldom and only on specific issues. They were properly discussed beforereaching an agreement. The wealth of interactions among participants, EP and the spirit of herputative father (John King or JK) raised a wide spectrum of emotions, depending on the attitude of single individuals, and on EP reactions. Friendly exchanges were progressively increasing in latersessions.As FB main objective was to record PK activation of MC instruments, EP was requested tolearn unusually fine movements rather than follow her instinctive tendency to move large heavyobjects. The request led to inconveniences in the first two sessions, as instruments had not beensecured to their support, and the support itself was moved by EP. In later sessions, support andinstruments were immobilized, EP was better trained, and PK records could be obtained. Thisgeneral pattern was roughly reflected in the number of pages FB devoted to reports of each session,which jumped from 8-10 pages for the first two sessions to an average of 29 pages for the followingfive sessions. Recorded PK events Third session  3The first PK events that were recorded took place in the third session, also attended by MsBottazzi. She had recently met EP and soon became her most accepted participant. Signals camefrom a metronome and a telegraph key, both secured to their support (Fig. 1). However, fulloscillations of the metronome arm did not last long as strong blows to the instrument, support andcables prevented further recording. The telegraph key was likewise pressed several times, even athigh frequency (13/s), as calculated for groups of signals from the speed of the rotating cylinder.Additional signals were obtained from a Marey kettledrum activated by pressure exerted on itsmembrane (Fig. 2). For the occasion, a wooden disk had been firmly glued to its membrane tofacilitate identification by EP anomalous limb. Vertical lines shown in the figure correspond topressures exerted on the wooden disk, their different sizes reflecting different amounts of pressure.As shown by later controls, the highest lines testified the considerable pressure that had beenexerted.It is essential to note that during all recorded PK events, EP hands, arms and legs wereconstantly monitored by custodians (often FB), who consistently witnessed and reported that EPmuscular contractions were highly synchronous with recorded PK events. This association wasconsistently observed and duly underlined by FB. Fourth session An electric spring key was repeatedly, vehemently pressed, as illustrated by pictures takenbefore and after the session (Fig. 3). The gross deformation of the key was attributed either to itslateral dislocation and consequent bending of the spring, or to the hard pressing of the key inducingan initial minor displacement eventually enhanced by additional blows. Since a lateral dislocationwould have implied coordinate holding of the instrument base by an additional hand, the secondalternative appeared more likely. Deformation had presumably occurred earlier as recorded signals(Fig. 4, upper trace) were fewer than the high number of perceived blows. Clearly, lateraldisplacement of the key prevented its contact with the bottom part and closure of the electric circuit.Deformation of the key also explained why some recorded traces indicated prolonged closure of thecircuit rather than expected beats. Under these conditions, circuit opening and closing was due tolateral movement of the key rather than to its vertical motion. At variance with signals emitted bythe unobstructed key, signals were not recorded from a telegraph key that had been enclosed in acardboard box secured to its support (Fig. 4, lower trace). Apparently, EP anomalous limb wasunable to penetrate the box.Signals were also derived from a metronome with metal connections and from a small drumconnected with a Marey kettledrum by air-tight rubber tubing. The small drum had been placed inMC in the hope that it would allow recording of a small sonata. Rhythmic beats were actuallyheard, but the connected recording cylinder did not rotate, and only single vertical lines wereobtained from either instrument (Fig. 5). Corresponding lines on the right were control linesartificially produced to approximately determine the amount of applied pressures.Upon repeated requests, the metronome was activated again for several seconds (Fig. 6), andEP was then asked to stop it. The request was not met, although trace irregularities (arrow) mayattest EP attempts. Fifth session Following several requests and EP attempts, the small drum connected with a Mareykettledrum was finally played, albeit not with a drumstick but by EP anomalous limb. The resultinggroups of 3 beats each are reproduced in Figure 7, upper trace. Signals produced by pressing of abellows are also shown in the same figure (trace 2).Interestingly, PK events were also recorded from instruments placed outside MC. A letter-weighing scale connected with a recording cylinder was placed on MT, and FB asked EP to lowerthe scale plate with her anomalous limb, while her natural hands were duly guarded. Followingactivation of the rotating cylinder, the pen wrote a horizontal line for several turns before fingers  4protruding from the left curtain resolutely advanced towards MT, took hold of the plate andmarkedly depressed it before quickly retracting and disappearing. Control determinations made thefollowing day demonstrated that the scale plate had been pressed by an equivalent weight of approximately 370 g. Figure 8 shows the trace left when the scale plate was pressed by ananomalous limb (vertical line on left panel) and by FB hand as control (vertical line on right panel).Signals were also obtained from an electric key placed in a wooden box firmly secured to itssupport (Figure 9, line 4). What actually happened was that following several unsuccessful attemptsto reach the key, the wooden box was vigorously pulled out from its support and the key wasfuriously pressed. Other traces were entirely devoid of signals, including the trace corresponding toan unobstructed key.In this as in other sessions, dishes with clay or mastic were placed in MC for EP to cast aface or a hand. In the course of the session, EP grabbed FB three middle fingers and started rubbingtheir tips on MT. She whispered that something hard was on the chair supporting the dish with clay,and asked that it be taken away. When somebody did it, three fingertips were found rubbed in theclay (Fig. 10). Sixth session As soon as an MC key started to be pressed, FB placed a similar key on MT and asked EP totry and synchronously press either key, respectively using her natural arm for the MT key and heranomalous limb for the MC key. It should be mentioned that in the previous session EP had proudlydemonstrated her PK capacity to knock on pairs of different objects (on small drum or electric keyin MC and on MT in the experimental room, and on either pair in alternate succession).Figure 11 presents traces obtained in the sixth session from activation of the MT key (trace1) and the MC key (trace 2). Isolated signals are present on either trace, but synchronous signalswere also recorded from both traces. The latter signals are clearly identified as pens connected toeither key were placed one above the other on the rotating cylinder. Line 3 in Figure 11 also showsisolated and grouped signals from an activated metronome. While groups of signals could beattributed to the metronome activation by blows to the supporting table that had not beenimmobilized, isolated signals cannot be explained by this mechanism, as they occurred when thetable was still. Hence, they were presumably due to left and right displacements of the metronomestick that only a hand could produce. Seventh session Two main events were recorded in this session. The first one regarded the confirmation of the experiment of the previous session regarding the synchronously pressing of two keys, the MTkey with EP natural hand, and the MC key with her anomalous limb (see Figure 11). Comparabledata were obtained in the seventh session demonstrating several episodes of the simultaneousactivation of two keys (Figure 12: compare trace 1 with signals from the MC key with trace 2 withsignals derived from the MT key). Isolated signals derived from either key were due to the frequentinitial activation of one key before the other key started to be pressed. Signals from the two keysdiffered from each other. The MC signal was consistently briefer and markedly stronger than theMT signal. The difference was also acoustically evident. The MC key appeared to receive strongknocks while the MT key received normal beats.The second main event regarded signals produced by a small Giaffe’s magneto-electricinstrument. As it was adjusted to behave as a rotatory switch, its activation required turning acircular handle. Groups of signals from this instrument are shown in Figure 11 (bottom panel, line4). As the circular handle could not be turned using one hand, but required holding the instrumentsteady by a second hand, these signals demonstrate the coordinate action of two hands.
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